These are all the Blogs posted on Saturday, 19, 2012.
Saturday, 19 May 2012
â€œThe Temple Mount is in our Handsâ€� â€“ Yom Yerushalayim Day, the 45th Commemoration of the Reunification of Jerusalem
Israeli paratroopers stand at the Western Wall, Judaism holiest site, after it was captured on June 7, 1967. Source David Rubinger AFP/Getty Images
This evening in Israel begins the commemoration of Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, the 28th of Iyar in the Hebrew Calendar. The occasion marks the 45th anniversary of the reunification of the ancient and eternal capital of the Jewish State of Israel. Nineteen years after Jordanian Legionnaires routed valiant defending forces, destroyed Jewish landmarks and expelled Jewish residents of the Old City; IDF forces retook the eastern half of Israel’s capitol on June 7th, 1967, after fierce fighting.
Israeli troops approach Temple Mount, June 7, 1967
First the Israelis bombarded the Augusta Victoria ridge, using napalm; the Jordanians fled. Then Israeli paratroopers took the Mount of Olives and moved down towards the Garden of Gethsemane. “We occupy the heights overlooking the Old City,” the paratroop commander Colonel Motta Gur told his men. “In a little while we will enter it. The ancient city of Jerusalem which for generations we have dreamed of and striven for — we’ll be the first to enter it. The Jewish nation is awaiting our victory. Be proud. Good luck!”
At 9:45 a.m., the Israeli Sherman tanks fired at the Lions’ Gate, smashing the bus that was blocking it, and blew open the doors. Under raking Jordanian fire, the Israelis charged the gate. The paratroopers broke into the Via Dolorosa, and Colonel Gur led a group onto the Temple Mount. “There you are on a half-track after two days of fighting with shots still filling the air and suddenly you enter this wide open space that everyone has seen before in pictures,” wrote intelligence officer Arik Akhmon, “and though I’m not religious, I don’t think there was a man who wasn’t overwhelmed with emotion. Something special had happened.” There was a skirmish with Jordanian troops before Gur announced over the radio: “The Temple Mount is in our hands!”
Meanwhile on Mount Zion, a company of the Jerusalem Brigade burst through a portal in the Zion Gate into the Armenian Quarter, hurtling down the steep hill into the Jewish Quarter, just as soldiers of the same unit broke through the Dung Gate. All headed for the Wall. Back on the Temple Mount, Gur and his paratroopers did not know how to reach it, but an old Arab showed them the Maghrebi Gate and all three companies converged simultaneously on the holy place. Holding his shofar and a Torah, the bearded Rabbi Shlomo Goren, chief chaplain of the Israeli Army, strode to the Wall and began to recite the Kaddish mourning prayer as the soldiers prayed, wept, applauded, danced and some sang the city’s new anthem “Jerusalem of Gold.”
At 2:30 p.m., Dayan, ï¬‚anked by Rabin and Narkiss, entered the city, passing “smouldering tanks,” and walking through “alleys totally deserted, an eerie silence broken by sniper fire. I remembered my childhood,” said Rabin, and reported feeling “sheer excitement as we got closer” to the Kotel. As they proceeded across the Temple Mount, Dayan saw an Israeli flag atop the Dome of the Rock and “I ordered it removed immediately.” Rabin was “breathless” as he watched the “tangle of rugged battle-weary men, eyes moist with tears,” but “it was no time for weeping — a moment of redemption, of hope.”
Rabbi Goren wanted to accelerate the messianic era by dynamiting the mosques on the Temple Mount, but General Narkiss replied:
“You’ll enter the history books,” said Rabbi Goren.
“I’ve already recorded my name in the history of Jerusalem,” answered Narkiss.
“This was the peak of my life,” recalled Rabin. “For years I had secretly harboured the dream that I might play a role in restoring the Western Wall to the Jewish people. Now that dream had come true and suddenly I wondered why I of all men should be privileged.” Rabin was granted the honor of naming the war: always modest and dignified, gruff and laconic, he chose the simplest name: the Six Day War. Nasser had another name for it — al-Naksa, the Reversal.
In 1980 Israel’s Knesset passed a law proclaiming Jerusalem as its ‘eternal and indivisible’ capital. The Muslim Ummah suggests otherwise. They contend that Allah had supposedly given Jerusalem and the world as an endowment for Muslims, but not for Jews or Christians. The mainstream media parrots the line that the world hasn’t recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s unified capital since a final peace agreement has yet to been concluded.
As noted in a CNS report successive Presidents beginning with former President Clinton have avoided implementing an Act of Congress mandating moving the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Israel’s capital:
Congress in 1995 passed a law recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and stating that “the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999.” An inbuilt waiver authority allowed the president to postpone the move, in the interests of “national security,” for consecutive six-monthly periods.
Reflecting the strong level of support in the U.S. for Israel and for Israel’s claim to Jerusalem, the Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act passed 374-37 in the House and 93-5 in the Senate.
Last June 6th, President Obama elected to invoke the waiver authority.
These acts by Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama suggest that the circumstances of such recognition would not be in this country’s interests. Thus, preserving the fiction that a Palestinian State would be entitled to East Jerusalem as its future capitol. The US Jerusalem consulate has been largely staffed with Palestinians in the local interests section with Arabic the predominate language of choice in handling issuance of Visas and other matters. According to Israel Matzav the US consulate in Jerusalem functions as “the unofficial US embassy to the Palestinians”. In the wake of the Arab Spring and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism virtually surround the Jewish State of Israel this failure of will by US Presidents to implement the sense of the Congress in the Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act of 1995 and move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem looks like abject dhimmitude by the US government.
Anjem Choudary, former spokesperson to the banned British group Islam4UK, has warned that hostages might be taken in order to secure the release of Mullah Krekar. He believes that Norway is trying to appease Americans in their war on terror, reports NRK. He told the broadcaster, “my message is that Muslims in other countries must do everything they can to free Muslims from jail.”
According to historian and social commentator Lars Gule, it was difficult to say how seriously Choudary’s should be taken, nonetheless. “This is pretty new and it remains to be seen if it is something someone is going to react to. I allow myself to doubt, because Choudary is unlikely to have enough influence to affect any of the countries where most Jihadists are active,”
Dear old Anjem denies that he said any such thing. He says
MORE NORWEGIAN MEDIA LIES TO SUPPORT WAR AGAINST MUSLIMS! Reports in Norway today have stated that I am asking Muslims abroad to take Norwegians hostage in return for the release of Mullah Krekar. This is simply not true but rather I have stated that western hostages are already in the hands of Muslims in various countries such as in Iraq, Afghanistan and in Somalia etc… and a decent option for both parties might be to consider exchanging hostages, the non-Muslims already being held for Muslim hostages held in the West such as Sheikh Abu Qatada and Mullah Krekar.
In addition it is the Islamic position that Muslims are obliged to do all they can to release Muslim hostages wherever they are being held and this will usually involve helping with the legal fees, making awareness about their plight, exposing the oppression which they are facing at the hands of barbaric regimes such as the Norwegian, the US and British regimes etc
Attempts by the Western media, such as this latest one by the Norwegians, is not uncommon where first a Muslim is tried and found guilty by the media and then ministers and police respond to the frenzy into which the masses are whipped. A person living in the West is today innocent until proven Muslim. Laws are specifically targeted just at Muslims, longer sentences are set aside for Muslims, Judges are picked who are already biased against Muslims and police and prosecution services are prejudiced against Muslims.
This is the interview he gave to the Norwegian press. Judge for yourself - they sound like threats to Norwegian soldiers in Afghanistan to me. Also he points to the Houses of Parliament (this is filmed in Westminster, instantly recognisable to the international audience) as says all this man made law will be stripped away and replaced with sharia, and the black flagwill fly on top.
But I warn you, its 13 minutes of your life you won't get back.
Two months after he was shot dead by French special forces, a 23-year-old Algerian-origin terrorist was found to have been plotting to attack the Indian embassy in Paris on the direction of his Taliban handlers in Pakistan. Quoting sources from the French Internal Intelligence and the Special Forces, Le Monde reported that Mohamed Merah's Taliban handlers in Pakistan had tasked him to attack the Indian mission.
Merah was killed after police and special forces laid an almost 32-hour siege of his apartment in Toulouse, after his armed attacks on a Jewish school and killing of army personnel outside their barracks on March 15. In a videotape found in the apartment, Merah can be seen holding a little girl by her hair, calmly reloading his gun before firing. In another, he tells a soldier: “You kill my brothers, I kill you.”
Leading Paris-based newspaper Le Monde reported on Thursday that Merah told French police he had been tasked to attack by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP. Indian government sources confirmed that embassy security had been tightened in the wake of the French warnings, possibly defeating the plot.
Evidence of Merah's jihadist links had, interestingly, long been available to France. In 2010, Merah was handed over to France after being captured while fighting with jihadists around Kandahar. Yet, he never faced criminal proceedings, and was able to return to Pakistan in 2011— suggesting France's intelligence services allowed him to operate in the hope of gathering more information.
Merah told cops that he had dropped the plan to attack the Indian mission due to difficulty of the enterprise.
More than 80 French nationals are believed to be training in TTP camps around Miranshah and Datta Khel.
New Delhi's intelligence services say Merah's plan to target the embassy in Paris flags the growing threat to India from the al-Qaeda-linked TTP. In 2010, the al-Qaeda's media wing released a posthumous audio message from top jihadist commander Said al-Masri, claiming responsibility for the bombing of the German Bakery in Pune — the first of its kind by the jihadist group.
al-Masri said “the person who carried out this operation was a heroic soldier from the ‘Soldiers of the Sacrifice Brigade,' which is one of the brigades of Qaedat al-Jihad [the al-Qaeda's formal name] in Kashmir.”
Filipetti, the granddaughterof Italian immigrants, apparently cannot even begin to make distinctions between levels of conceivable integration, and above all, cannot allow herself to understand how it is, in France as in every other country of Western Europe and North America, Muslim immigrants, possessing and possessed by the ideology of Islam, which clearly inculates contempt for man-made Infidel law, and contempt and hatred for Infidel societies and for Infidels themselves, have by their presence created a situation, both for the indigenous non-Muslims and for other, but non-Muslim, immigrants, a situation that is far more unpleasant, expensive, and physically dangerous than would be the case without such a large-scale Muslim presence. How can she, how can someone of her mental makeup, possibly allow herself to come to understand that?
When a delegation of Syrian Kurdish rebels recently visited Washington, D.C., the State Department met them to ask for a favor. What was it? The Obama administration urged them to join the Syrian National Council (SNC), the organization created by the U.S. government through Turkey to lead the opposition movement and receive Western aid for all Syrian opposition groups.
But the Turkish Islamist regime, which Obama put in charge of forming the SNC, put the Muslim Brotherhood in control, a fact I pointed out within hours of the announcement of the SNC leadership’s names.
Now that several SNC leaders have resigned complaining about Brotherhood domination, followed by some Arab journalists pointing out the obvious Brotherhood domination at the SNC’s last meeting, that reality is clear. But the implications of such an incredibly foolish policy—America putting an anti-American, antisemitic group into the “official” leadership of Syria’s rebels — have never been properly examined as a case study for Obama’s disastrous Middle East policy.
The Kurds had walked out of the talks that formed the SNC last year when they saw how Islamists would be in control. Not only do they oppose Islamism itself but they also see the Brotherhood as an Arabizing and centralizing group that would impose a regime oppressing the non-Arab Kurds.
The new U.S. effort so backfired that, with the Obama administration ignoring their concerns, the enraged Kurds in the delegation spoke for the first time of breaking up Syria altogether!
To sum up, Obama policy has strengthened the Islamist forces in the opposition and fragmented the rebels, thus helping preserve a radical anti-American Syrian regime that is an ally of Iran or helping make any revolution more likely to produce a radical anti-American Syrian Islamist regime that will be an ally of an Islamist Egypt.
Now comes a very peculiar story in the Washington Post with the headline, “Syrian rebels get influx of arms with Gulf Neighbors’ Money, U.S. coordination.” Let’s break this down logically…
Two weeks ago, US Congressman Joe Walsh published an op-ed in the The Washington Times in which he called for the US and Israel to abandon the two-state solution.
After running through the record of Palestinian duplicity, failed governance, terrorism and bad faith, he called for Israel to apply its sovereignty to Judea and Samaria. In his words, Israel should "adopt the only solution that will bring true peace to the Middle East: a single Israeli state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Israel is the only country in the region dedicated to peace and the only power capable of stable, just and democratic government in the region."
The evidence that the two-state paradigm has failed is overwhelming. The Palestinians' decision to reject statehood at Camp David in 2000 and launch a terror war against Israel made clear that they had not abandoned their refusal from 1947 to accept partition of the Land of Israel with the Jews.
So, too, the Palestinians' election of Hamas in the 2006 elections, and their missile war against Israel from Gaza in the aftermath of Israel's complete withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, all made clear that they are not interested in a Palestinian state. Rather, their chief desire is Israel's annihilation.
Consequentially, there is no chance whatsoever that the two state paradigm can work.
Indeed, the fact that there is no Palestinian leader willing to recognize Israel's right to exist makes clear that if a Palestinian state is established in Judea and Samaria - in addition to the de facto Palestinian state in Gaza - that state will be in state of war with Israel. All territory under its control will be used to attack the rump Jewish state.
Given the abject failure of the two-state paradigm, it is abundantly clear that for all the complications that may be associated with the application of Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, it is a better option for Israel than Israeli surrender of the areas.
Walsh's op-ed is not his first statement of support for Israeli annexation. Last September, ahead of the UN general assembly, Walsh authored Congressional Resolution 394 supporting Israel's right to annex Judea and Samaria in the event that the Palestinians asked the UN to recognize a Palestinian state outside the framework of a peace treaty with Israel. Forty-four other congressmen co-sponsored the resolution.
And this makes sense.
The Palestinians' decision to turn the issue of Palestinian statehood over to the UN constituted a substantive breach of the treaties the PLO signed with Israel. Those agreements stipulated that both sides agreed that their conflict would be solved through negotiations and not through unilateral actions. By ending negotiations with Israel and turning the issue of statehood over to the UN, the Palestinians canceled their treaties with Israel. Consequently, Israel is no longer bound by those accords and is free to take its own unilateral actions, including applying its laws to Judea and Samaria as it did in Jerusalem and the Golan Heights in the past.
FOR HIS unstinting support for Israel, Walsh has been subject to an unbridled assault by leftist American Jews. Ron Kampeas from JTA, for instance, attacked Walsh, accusing him of being no different than Israel's enemies who seek to destroy Israel by ending its ability to define itself as a Jewish state through what they refer to as the "one-state solution."
Kampeas blasted Walsh for suggesting that Palestinians unwilling to live under Israeli rule could move to Jordan which, with its 75-percent Palestinian majority, is effectively the Palestinian state. To back up his condemnation, Kampeas quoted Robert Wright's excoriation of Walsh in The Atlantic.
There Wright wrote, "Offhand, I don't recall a member of Congress in my lifetime saying anything so grotesquely at odds with American ideals about ethnic relations and for that matter basic human rights."
For its part, the Jewish-run anti-Israel lobby J Street is mobilizing its supporters to bring about Walsh's defeat in the November elections by soliciting contributions to his Democratic challenger. J Street executive director Jeremy Ben-Ami wrote that "Walsh's prescription amounts to a call for an end to Israel as the democratic home of the Jewish people."
It is hard to know where to begin a discussion of this assault in which Jewish Americans attacked one of Israel's strongest supporters simply because he had the temerity to recognize reality and call for the US to support an Israeli victory against our enemies who seek our destruction.
First, it is important to consider the claim that Walsh went against the grain of American ideals by suggesting, "Those Palestinians who wish to may leave their Fatah- and Hamas-created slums and move to the original Palestinian state: Jordan. The British Mandate for Palestine created Jordan as the country for the Palestinians.[better:: Arabs, not soi-disant "Palestinians"]. That is the only justification for its creation.[For the British who created it, the justiciation was to give Abdullah, the older brother of Feisal who was put on the throne of Iraq, a state of his own so he woudl stop threatening to disrupt French rule in Syria, that is the Emirate of Transjordan was created to buy off a local Arab, and maintain harmony with the other European power in the Middle East, France] Even now, 75% of its population is of Palestinian descent."
The fact of the matter is that the two-state paradigm rests on the assumption that the Palestinian state will be ethnically cleansed of Jews before it is established. Whereas Walsh somehow stands in opposition to American ideals for suggesting that the Palestinians may voluntarily immigrate to Jordan, Kampeas, Ben- Ami and their cohorts have no problem with the concept of a Jew-free Palestine and the forcible expulsion of up to 675,000 Jews from their homes in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem simply because they are Jewish.
Aside from their pernicious hypocrisy and moral blindness, what stands out in their assaults on Walsh is that they cannot tell the difference between Israel's enemies that seek its destruction through the so-called one-state solution, and Israel's friends, who want it to defeat its enemies and live with security and peace. For the likes of Kampeas and Ben-Ami, there is no difference between Walsh and Israel's worst enemies.
PART OF this problem is their apparent unquestioning acceptance of the myth of a demographic time bomb. They seem not to have noticed that the Palestinian claim that by 2015 there will be an Arab majority west of the Jordan River is a complete fabrication.
The truth is that if Israel applied its laws to Judea and Samaria tomorrow and all the Palestinians in those areas received Israeli citizenship, Israel would still retain a two-thirds Jewish majority. Moreover, all the demographic trends for Israel, including increasing birthrates and positive immigration rates, are positive. And all the demographic trends for the Palestinians, including decreasing birthrates and negative immigration rates, are negative. According to Israeli demographic researcher Yoram Ettinger, by 2030, Jewish will likely comprise 80% of the population of Israel, Judea and Samaria.
So Ben-Ami's argument that Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria means the end of Israeli democracy is simply incorrect.
But aside from their hypocrisy and refusal to accept simple arithmetic realities, what stands out most clearly in these leftist American Jews' assault on Walsh is how they have become addicted to the fable of the two-state solution. Their addiction to this fable - that argues that after a century of Palestinian devotion to the annihilation of Israel, the Palestinians are suddenly willing to meet Israel halfway - is what propels these Jewish activists to attack anyone who points out reality. It is what drives them to brand as a foe anyone with the temerity to suggest a better way forward.
The beauty of the two-state fable is that it puts the onus to make peace on Israel's shoulders.
If it is true that the Palestinians want to make peace, then Israel must make peace. And if all the Palestinians require to make peace is for Israel to quit Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, then that is what Israel must do, together with the 675,000 Jews who live there.
The real tragedy is of course not that the likes of Kampeas and Ben-Ami maintain faith with the fairy tale of Palestinian willingness to live at peace with Israel. The real tragedy is that this myth has been the official policy of the government of Israel for the past 19 years. Since then prime minister Yitzhak Rabin launched the peace process with Yasser Arafat in September 1993, to greater or lesser degrees, every Israeli government has kept faith with the two-state solution lie.
It hasn't mattered that the Palestinians rejected statehood and peace not once, but twice. It hasn't mattered that the Palestinians received Gaza lock, stock and barrel with no strings attached and used the territory to launch an illegal missile war against Israeli civilians. The fact that both Arafat and his supposedly moderate successor Mahmoud Abbas rejected partition and maintained their devotion to Israel's destruction did not stop Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu from bowing to US pressure and embracing this fool's game.
People like Kampeas are the first to bemoan Israel's sorry state in the realm of public diplomacy. They decry Israel's hasbara efforts as pathetic and failed. But what they fail to acknowledge is that it is the two-state trap that makes the construction and execution of an effective public diplomacy strategy impossible.
To maintain faith with this failed policy, Israel's leaders and representatives are not merely required to ignore the history of the past 90 years of Palestinian rejection and aggression.
They are required to ignore current events.
They are forced to ignore not just what happened in 1947, but what happened at 7 o'clock in the morning.
And this brings us back to Rep. Walsh. There may be things to criticize about Walsh's policy argument. For instance, he calls for the conferral of "limited voting power" on the Palestinians under Israeli sovereignty. In truth, there is no reason for them to receive anything but full voting rights.
But you have to be blind to reality to view him as anything other than a friend of Israel.
Happily, not everyone in Israel remains paralyzed. Members of Knesset have launched repeated attempts in recent months to debate legislation calling for Israel to apply its sovereignty over all or parts of Judea and Samaria. Next Wednesday, MK Miri Regev is holding a conference to launch a new Knesset caucus calling for the adoption of this policy.
IN RECENT years, poll after poll has shown that the majority of Israelis do not believe that the two-state paradigm will bring peace or that if a Palestinian state is formed, it will live at peace with Israel.
And yet, because of the choke-hold that Kampeas and Ben-Ami's Israeli counterparts have held over the national discourse, the Israeli people have been given no other option to consider. Rather, we have been told over and over again that giving our enemies a veto over our rights, land and security is the only alternative.
Walsh and the 44 congressmen who co-sponsored his resolution are Israel's friends. We should take heart in their willingness to buck consensus and support us. And we should give careful and responsible consideration to their reasonable and supportive policy recommendations.
(Reuters) - President Barack Obama told G8 leaders meeting at Camp David that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must leave power, and pointed to Yemen as a model of how political transition could work there, the White House said on Saturday.
Comment: But Yemen is entirely Muslim and Arab, and its divisions are mainly, though not exclusively, sectarian and tribal. Syria, on the other hand, is now controlled by a quasi-Muslim sect, the Alawites, who keep the Muslim Brotherhood, and the most fanatical Sunnis, under ruthless and violent control, and this permits several million Christians, both Arabic-speaking and Armenian, to exist with a security they have nowhere else, save possibly Lebanon until recently, in the Arab-ruled lands. It would be madness to wish for the Alowites to be replaced by Sunni Muslims, and there is no possibility now, under the Alawites, of Syria being a threat to Western interests. But the fall of the Alawites, and their loss of control over chemical and other weapons, would do great damage to the West. None of this obtains in Yemen. Yemen is a "model" only to those who completely miscomprehending Islam, the Arabs, the Middle East. The Obama Administration is, alas, full of such people]
The Group of Eight leaders, in a statement summing up their discussions, urged all parties in Syria to adhere to their commitments under a joint U.N.-Arab League peace plan "in cluding immediately ceasing all violence so as to enable a Syrian-led, inclusive political transition leading to a democratic, plural political system."
Ben Rhodes, an Obama deputy national security adviser, said the recent focus on securing access for U.N. monitors and keeping track of ceasefires had distracted from the fundamental problems in Syria, where Assad, whose father ruled the country before him, has been attacking protesters for 14 months.
The United Nations estimates some 9,000 people have been killed in Syria since the start of the uprising in March 2011, when unrest that toppled leaders in Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere was spreading across North Africa.
Washington's patience with Assad has been wearing thin. Assad said he would adhere to a U.N.-Arab League peace plan but has failed to bring violence to a full halt, blaming "terrorists" for recent attacks in Damascus and elsewhere.
"It is our assessment that you are not going to be able to solve this problem just with monitors and ceasefires, that you need to have a political process under way that is responsive to the Syrian people, because otherwise you are not going to solve the problem," Rhodes said.
He said the G8 leaders - from Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and Canada, plus the United States, which is hosting the summit - discussed during their dinner on Friday how a political transition could take place in Syria.
" We remain appalled by the loss of life, humanitarian crisis, and serious and widespread human rights abuses in Syria," the G8 statement said. "Use of force endangering the lives of civilians must cease."
Alone among the eight, Russia has supported Assad and opposed stiffer U.N. sanctions.
"Some may like or dislike the Syrian government, some may have different views on the last election which took place in Syria but one cannot avoid a question - if Assad goes, who will replace him?" said Mikhail Margelov, a Russian parliamentarian and aide to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
"We believe that the Syrian crisis cannot be dealt with an ax. One should work on it with a pair of pincers," he said.
The G8 statement said the leaders welcomed the deployment of the U.N. mission "and urge all parties, in particular the Syrian government, to fully cooperate with the mission. We strongly condemn recent terrorist attacks in Syria."
Obama brought up Yemen as an example of a leader departing power peacefully and ushering in a democratic process, Rhodes said. "Our point was that we need to see political transition under way that brings real change to Syria," he said.
"We believe that change has to include Bashar al-Assad leaving power. And unless you begin the process of a political transition of some sort, you are not going to be able to deal with reducing the violence and addressing the grievances of the people who came out in the street to start with," Rhodes said.
Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh ruled the poor Gulf nation for 33 years and was unseated after an uprising last year that split the country's armed forces into warring factions.
Saleh was granted immunity from prosecution over the killing of protesters as part of power transfer deal that eased him out of office. Many Yemenis believe Saleh ought to have been put on trial; rights groups say hundreds of protesters were killed by his security forces in the revolt.
U.N. Security General Ban Ki-moon said this month there was only a narrow window of opportunity to avert full-scale civil war in Syria, which borders Turkey, Jordan, Israel, Iraq and Lebanon. The country's 23 million people comprise a mix of sects and ethnic groups whose tensions could resonate in the region.